Williams, who joined Premier Foods plc last year, is leaving to “pursue other opportunities”

Williams, who joined Premier Foods plc last year, is leaving to “pursue other opportunities”

Premier Foods plc has confirmed the MD of its Hovis division, Iwan Williams, is to step down amid plans by the group to reshape its bread business.

Williams, who joined the firm last year, is leaving to "pursue other opportunities", a spokesperson for Premier told just-food today (29 November). He added there was "unlikely" to be a replacement for Williams as a result of "restructuring" of the division. The spokesperson said Williams will leave the UK group early next year.

Williams, a former partner at financial consultants Ambre Partners, joined as MD of Premier's bread operations last November. He then took charge of its grocery arm in January after Graham Hunter, the executive Premier lined up for that role, surprisingly joined UK firm Tangerine Confectionery.

Last month, Premier made another key change to its senior management by appointing former Uniq chief executive Geoff Eaton as COO. There are suggestions Williams could have been unhappy at the appointment. However, the Premier spokesperson declined to comment.

The group last week announced that some 900 jobs are to go at Premier as part of a range of measures to reshape its bread business. The company plans to close two bakeries, cut over 100 distribution routes and revamp its logistics operations in a bid to cut costs from its bread arm.

Premier, operating in a UK bread sector dogged by promotions and excess capacity, is trying to shake up its bread business to cut costs and improve returns.

The company has even been reported to have hired Goldman Sachs to see what takeover interest there could be in its bread business, although it has refused to comment publicly on these claims.